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Or slowed it down, or made it reset or caused it to go all Blue Screen of Death, or just generally messed it up, and it has been running really slow every since you installed it.

Well, no. It didn’t, necessarily, and here’s why.

Second Life is quite a small application. It’s probably one of the smaller applications you’ll likely download for your PC, being just about 35MB or so. It doesn’t take up a lot of space (though it can store a lot of temporary files in its cache when it is running).

It’s also quite self contained. It adds very little to your system settings, neither adds nor updates system libraries, and doesn’t leave anything that will alter your system or slow it down when it isn’t running. Though you may want to defrag your hard-drive periodically – in fact, you should be doing that already.

So, why did your system screw up? I mean applications are generally divided into ‘special’ and ‘ordinary’. Ordinary applications can’t mess your system up, or crash it – and Second Life is an ordinary application. In fact, it’s actually quite a well-behaved application compared to most.

Well, I’ll be frank. The majority of PCs just don’t work right. I’m not kidding.

In fact, after decades as a PC owner, having gone through multiple systems, coddling them when they go wrong, and helping others with their own systems, I’m actually inclined to think that there isn’t such a thing as a PC that works one-hundred percent, at all. They’re not quite as unreliable as WiFi hardware, but it’s a close second.

Second Life does work your hardware pretty hard. Very hard. In ways that even some very demanding PC games do not.

If your hardware is twitchy at all, it’s going to show.

Pushing your PC to the edge with overclocking? It’ll probably fall over. Did the folks who sold you your PC save a few bucks by fitting a substandard power-supply, or is your video-card or CPU cooling inadequate? It’ll surely fall over. It’s just a matter of when. These things usually cause your machine to abruptly shut-down or reset.

If your system gives you the famous Blue Screen of Death, then you’ve likely got buggy hardware drivers or a dicky BIOS or bad RAM.

That’s not to say that the Second Life viewer – as an application – is entirely bug-free, but the worst thing it’ll do to your system is crash back to the desktop, and you’ll have to start it up again.

No, if you’re having worse troubles than that, it’s your poor old PC itself, I’m afraid. Heck, I bought a new PC just four weeks ago – and I needed to contact the manufacturer for a BIOS update before the darn thing would work reliably. If your system falls over more than once each month, there’s likely something wrong with it at some level.

So, make sure your hardware drivers are up-to-date – statistically, unless you’re a PC gamer, you haven’t updated the graphics drivers since you bought the system. The manufacturers are constantly finding and fixing bugs in those drivers. It pays to learn how to get and apply the updates.

Use the BIOS tools that probably came with your PC to check for and apply updates there too.

Clear dust out of your PC or notebook vents, and make sure it is adequately cooled. Check your fans, if you know how, and make sure they’re still in good order, and not choked with fluff. You’d be astonished at how much lint a PC can accumulate in just a couple of months – more if you sit it on the floor under or beside a desk.

Look after your PC. Like cars, they’re expensive buggers, not completely reliable and need a little routine maintenance to get the most out of them.

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